State Question 780 is on the ballot for the upcoming November election. If it sounds boring, it’s probably because it’s titled “Oklahoma Smart Justice Reform Act,” which sounds a lot like the class your friends tell you to drop before your professor assigns multiple research papers.
If State Question 780 is approved, property offenses (theft, arson, damage, etc) that are under $1000 in damages will be misdemeanors, as opposed to the current $500 cap; drug possession is dropped to a misdemeanor.
“[T]he distribution, possession with intent to distribute, transportation with intent to distribute, manufacture, or trafficking of drugs remain felonies,” the bill notes. You’ll still need to keep your bake-sale brownies free of pot if you aren’t fond of wearing prison orange, though.
The sister question, State Question 781, will be effective if 780 is approved by voters in November. State Question 781 essentially states that the money that would otherwise be used to take care of prisoners who would have been sentenced to jail without State Question 780 will be used to create the County Community Safety Investment Fund. The money would go towards rehabilitation centers for people with problems with their mental health, drugs, alcohol, or other serious issues.
With an understanding of these State Questions, you too are ready to pump some good into the universe. Once in prison, prisoners make contacts, learn hard lessons and have difficulty re-adjusting to and finding employment outside of prison.
If there’s a voice in your head that sounds like Admiral Ackbar screaming “it’s a trap,” it’s because prisons in the United States currently are. The cycle of crime to prison to crime again is vicious. Offenders that receive a misdemeanor might continue to escalate their behavior —which they would do regardless of the severity of their punishment — or conversely, realize that their actions have terrifying consequences.
Lowering the amount of non-violent offenders sent to prisons in Oklahoma will create a positive impact on our city and society. Moreover, the money that would be spent on room and board for those people will go to actively helping people in your state. That’s pretty neat!
So please, make your local political science major proud and vote in the November election. Support the people in your state. Support Questions 780 and 781.